Camping – Some help to get you started!


So you are new to this area or new to the world of camping and don’t know where to start?  Here!

St Albans has several outdoor stores which stock everything from family tents to childrens’ walking boots and compasses. Below is a list of our local stores, followed by a list of nearby campsites (where you can test out your camping skills!) and some helpful websites and magazines.

COTSWOLD OUTDOORS; Helpful staff and good quality products. Lightweight tents for backpacking, a large range of equipment, Duke of Edinburgh products and outdoor clothing. See their website for the list of products.Located near town centre on Victoria St.  Free Parking outside store. Tel 01727 847888

MILLETS; Small store but contains quality outdoor clothing, camping gadgets, some small tents, accessories and footwear. Helpful staff too!  Located in town centre just off Market Place (nearest parking Christopher Place Car Park). Tel; 01727 856 328

PJ CAMPING; Large store  (part of a chain) containing everything you would need for your camping holiday. They have a large outdoor exhibition area to enjoy with a variety of party tents, family tents, festival tents and weekenders.  Luggage, sleeping bags, cooking equipment and chairs as well as large array of gadgets sold in store and  there is free car parking on site. Address; Notcutts Garden Centre, 605 Hatfield Rd, Colney Heath, St Albans  AL4 0HN. Tel; 01727 850901.


HALFORDS; Contains section for outdoor pursuits including some tents, gazebos and accessories. Located in St Albans retail park,  near the town centre. See or tel 01727 853 444


Hertford Camping and Caravan Club Site; This large, conservation site is just 30 minutes from St Albans (beside the historic town of Hertford). There is a large choice of pitches on grounds which is partitioned into several areas. High quality toilet/shower blocks, shop, playground, serviced pitches and helpful staff. Non-members are welcome too. Tel; 01992 586696

Grafham Waters Caravan Club Site, Huntingdon (has a tent meadow beside main site)  This is about 70 mins drive from St Albans. A favourite for our kids, it has a lovely playground and swimming pool, yet is surrounded by fields and the large lake of Grafham Waters. Sailing and other water sports nearby. The Fish n Chip van visits on Friday evenings. Tel; 01480 810264. See for reviews on this and all other sites.

Lee Valley Campsite; Basic site but has good facilites and the friendliest staff I ever met. This is a 25 minute drive from St Albans (assuming the M25 is flowing). It is a good if you want to experience the Olympic Training Centre and some of the Lee Valley Olympic events. There is a cinema and golf course by the site. Tel; 0208 8036900

HELPFUL WEBSITES  and  is full of allsorts of outdoor persuits/tips/events  as well as a forum for you to join. Also, for overall reviews and details of every UK site, click


‘ Camping’  (monthly) and ‘Go Camping’ (annual) are available from WH Smith ,PJ Camping or can be ordered online from

Please  feel free to add your tips or experiences relating to the above information. Happy Holidays!

Previous articleGet the body out there for charity
Next articleA visit to Champneys in St. Albans
Maria Larmer lives in St Albans and is married with four children. She works as a Freelance Writer, English Language Teacher and Teaching Assistant. She has lived in Auckland, New Zealand for 9 years and prior to that in France, Germany, Austria, Edinburgh, London and Ireland. Her diary-writing has featured on 'The Wild Geese' Channel 4 and Radio Verulam. She has written for Hertfordshire Life magazine, Go Camping magazine, Camping magazine, The Catholic Times, St Albans & Harpenden Review, New Zealand Times, The New Beacon, My Weekly and various websites. She can be contacted on